Saturday, July 30, 2011

How To Make: Steampunk Goggles

There are about as many ways to make steampunk goggles as there are steampunk goggles, but I hope this tutorial will help get you started.

Some of the things you'll need:

- Leather/vinyl [for the eye cups and straps]

- a small buckle or vest clip [to adjust the straps]

- 1.5 inch plumbing coupler [to make the eye pieces]

- Plexiglas [for the lenses]

- Optional: 2-hole pipe strap [for the nose piece]

The most important piece is the plumbing coupler, which looks like this:

You can find these at any hardware store for around $6, and one coupler will make both eye cups.

Mark off the width you'd like for each cup on the pipe:

We used a fat pencil as a guide - but keep in mind my goggles are shallow, and sit very close to the face. You may want your eye cups to be longer.

Next, cut the pipe:

To hold the pipe, John clamped channel lock pliers on the edge and then secured the pliers in his table vise.

Oh, and it only looks like he's about to cut his fingers off. Promise. ;)

Keep in mind that the coupler pieces that screw on to these edges are the only metal that will show on your finished goggles. So, if you want your goggles something other than silver, paint those pieces, not these. (I painted mine copper.)

Now the lenses:

To keep your saw from scratching the Plexiglas, first cover it in blue painter's tape:

Since we already had a finished pair of goggles to work from, I used one of those lenses as a template.

Cut out your lenses on a scroll saw:

Sorry about the crazy hair photo bomb.

Once your lenses are cut out, you'll need to use heavy grit sandpaper to fine-tune the fit. They should fit snugly inside the outer screw-on pieces of the coupler.

NOTE: If Plexiglas is not an option, cut your lenses from a clear thick report cover. You can even layer a few sheets together to make them stronger, and no one will be the wiser!

Next, the eye cups:

Wrap a piece of paper around the metal pipe to mark the length and form a template. You want your eye cup to flair out slightly at the temple, so that it forms a seal around your eye. To do that, your shape should look something like this:

Play around with the shape to see what you prefer: the more rounded the valleys, the farther out your temple flair will be.

And in case I've completely lost you, here's what I'm talking about:

See how the far edge is higher? That's the temple edge. Again, on my goggles it's a fairly subtle difference, so play around and see what size you prefer.

Once you have your template, add about an inch to the straight edge and the two side edges, and then cut our your vinyl/leather:

The extra inch along the straight edge allows you to roll over and sew the curved edge like this.

Now, I won't lie to you: this part is hard if you're not a sewer. (Er, meaning a person who sews, not a smelly network of waste disposal pipes. But you probably knew that.)

Which is why I had John do it. :D

To puff out our rolled edge, we stuck a piece of rolled paper raffia inside. This is completely optional, though.

Finally, sew the two edges together right side in, flip your cup inside out, and you've got your finished leather eye cup. It should fit snugly around the metal pipe, like so:

Glue the leather to the metal, making sure to leave the metal edge with the threads exposed. Here I'm using a toothpick to fill in the tiny seam between the leather and metal with superglue.

At this point you'll want to attach the nose piece. We used a copper pipe strap bent into shape, but I'm considering going back and replacing it with a strap of leather. (Because my eye cups are so shallow, the metal nose piece touches the bridge of my nose, which is uncomfortable. If your cups are longer, though - as John's are - you won't have this problem.)

We attached the nose piece with bolts and small screws. You can do the same with a leather or chain nose piece.

Next cut your two straps and glue them to the sides of the eye cups, as you see above. If you bring the raw edge of the strap all the way forward against the metal threading, it will be covered when you screw on the edge piece, like so:

Also be sure to hand-stitch your straps along the edge, since glue alone probably won't be strong enough.

Once you sew on your strap buckle or vest clip, you're ready for the fun part:


I bought these brass filigree pieces from The Mermaid's Dowry on Etsy, which has hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous stampings and charms. (Kid? Meet candy shop.)

I glued the tiny rose gold piece on the nose piece (bending it to match the curve), and I hand-stitched the largest filigree pieces onto the straps:

And finally, on a whim I cut out two circles of iridescent cellophane to insert in the lenses, which turned out to be my very favorite part. It adds a lot of fun color, is easy to see through, and helps hide the bolts from the nose piece besides.

Cost Break Down:

Because this is one of those projects that uses tiny scraps left over from other projects, the cost can be quite negligible. The only things I had to purchase were the plumbing coupler ($6) and the vest clips ($3). Even with the vinyl and filigree pieces, I'd say your material cost should stay well under $20 - probably more like $15.

So, if you decide to make a pair, please send me pictures!

And if you missed it, click here to see John's goggles and ray gun, plus more beauty shots of these.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Steampunk Goggles!

John and I have spent the past two days trying to find the best way photograph two pairs of steampunk goggles. [insert joke about using our time wisely here]
Here's the best of what we've got so far:

This is my pair, which I just finished a few days ago. (The gun is an antique reproduction that belonged to my grandfather.) I'm super chuffed with them; I really like the copper and dark brown leather together.

Here's John's pair along with his ray gun, which we built ourselves - and are rather proud of. :)

The gun is made from a glass bottle, brass candlestick pieces, and a custom wooden grip we made ourselves. It also lights up when you pull the trigger. [pewpew!] I'll be doing a tutorial on it just as soon as we build another one... for me. :D

Outside shot:

You can see the difference in eye cup sizes here: I thought John's were way too long, so we made mine much more petite and closer to the face.

Fuzzy inside shot:

Pretty close-up shot:

The iridescent film in my goggles turned out to be our favorite part, and was an easy last-second addition. It makes the lenses look holographic, and I looove all the colors.

Now let's try the photo cube, shall we?

John's gun and goggles again, along with an antique Elgin pocket watch from my Dad.

(Can you tell I had a little too much fun staging all these pictures?)

(Oh, and John says I should mention I actually wear those gloves. Antique gloves seem to the be the only ones that fit my teeny hobbit hands; modern ones are always too long in the fingers. Anyone else have that problem?)

And one final beauty shot of my goggles:

Stay tuned for the tutorial!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Be Careful What You Specifically Don't Ask For...

Sometimes I have a reader ask to send me something via the post office. I've gotten more than my fair share of random fun stuff this way: fan art, an old typewriter, capsule toys, and even some handmade jewelry and toys. (Who has two thumbs and is insanely lucky? This girl.)

When readers e-mail us for the address, John and I like to jokingly inform them that shipments of poo are frowned upon, since John still anticipates a disgruntled baker sending us poo patties some day.

So last week, we got...this:

In addition to a cute pile o' poop notepad, flying poo cellphone charm, and monkey poo stickers, Obsidian from Australia *also* wrote my letter on "genuine roo poo paper," made from - you guessed it - kangaroo poop.

I bow before your snarky greatness, Obsidian.

She also sent me an adorable little bracelet and light saber earrings. *squee!* (Next on the agenda: get my ears pierced. Or, since I'm a wimp: get more clip earring backs to convert these. Heheh.)

Hmm...I wonder what I shouldn't ask for next? ;)

Geek Girl News to Make You Feel Good

Meet Epbot reader Katherine H.:

Katherine is a proud geek girl college student who's just a *little* Star Wars crazy. (Note awesome Boba Fett t-shirt & Droid phone.) In fact, this is Katherine's college backpack:

One day, Katherine found the following in her campus newspaper, filed with all the other anonymous messages students leave for each other:


Katherine was/is engaged, so she never responded to the message. However, if that doesn't encourage you geek girls out there to let your geek flag fly with pride, I'm not sure what will.

(Oh, and Katie? Hang on to that water bottle! You may need it in college.)

Next, meet the top three winners of Google's inaugural Science Fair:

Yep, Lauren Hodge, Naomi Shah, and Shree Bose beat out over 10,000 applicants from 90 different countries to snag those snazzy LEGO awards. Rock on, ladies! Who says science is for boys?

(No, really. Who says that??)

(And thanks to Betsy H. for the link!)

And finally, everyone who followed geek girl Cyril's Tumblr blog knew her dream was to someday play a princess at the Disney theme parks. So when a nasty troll named "anonymous" posted a public message saying Cyril would never be pretty enough, an artist named Alice (who didn't know Cyril personally) decided to show her support by painting Cyril as Rapunzel:

Not only is it a gorgeous painting, Alice's efforts really show what a beautiful thing online community can be. Kudos, all of you. (Well, except "Anonymous," of course.)

Have any feel-good geek girl news to share? Then share in the comments, or e-mail me!

[UPDATE: Yikes! Sorry about the link mix-up for Cyril's blog, guys - it appears the first link I had was hacked to go to an anti-Harry Potter site. Thanks to the commenter who gave me a revised address; it should all be fine now. (phew!)]